Canberra product Alison Bai believes an increase of female coaches is crucial to lifting the standard of Australia's next generation of tennis stars.
Bai is the highest ranked female player in the ACT but, like Nick Kyrgios, has not toured this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tennis Australia organised a Junior Development coaching course to support players on tour, with Bai joining the likes of Sam Stosur, Daria Gavrilova, Jess Moore, Luke Saville and Matt Ebden.
The accelerated course was delivered online in May but the on-court assessment was delayed when Melbourne went into a 16-week lockdown.
Bai has been mentoring nine-year-old's Ashley Ward and Emily Zhang at Radford College tennis courts, as well as helping out Milo Bradley with the ACT state program.
The Canberran, who has a highest singles ranking of world No.305, wants to see an increase of female coaches at all levels and says it would help lift the standard of female players from the grassroots up.
"We don't have a lot of elite female coaches or those who are really passionate about trying to lift the level of female sport, especially in tennis," Bai said.
"We definitely need a lot more female coaches. At the moment we only have about three high-performance female coaches in Australia.
"Traveling on tour myself, it would have been nice to have a female coach with me. Growing up as well, I never really had any female coaches or real role models to talk to.
"The Canberra girls' level at national level is not great, we really need to get better. If we have some female coaches and role models the kids can see, that will definitely help more coming through."
Bai is unsure whether she'll pursue tennis coaching as a career path because of her aspirations to work in sports law, with the 30-year-old currently studying a law degree.
In the meantime, Bai has returned to training and is preparing for the summer of tennis - with the Australian Open now confirmed to commence on Monday, February 8.
She's already entered a number of tournaments, but the ACT will miss out on seeing her in action with the Canberra International relocated to Victoria for the second time in as many years.
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"It is [sad] especially now I've been home for a while and established connections locally with people and through coaching," Bai said.
"They say 'we're so keen to see you play again', but that might be a little while longer because we won't be having any tournaments in January. Hopefully we can have the ACT Clay Court International in March or April.
"It's so hard to really know or plan anything, even during the year when the US Open and French Open were on, it was so hard to make decisions if you wanted to go or not. You don't know if you're going to get stuck over there, or if you can come back.
"There's a lot of uncertainty at the moment."
The postponement of the Australian Open could allow for a week of warm-up tournaments, with international players to quarantine for two-weeks from January 15.
"The priority is to get the Grand Slam done and dusted, but from a players point of view you'd like to get at least a couple of matches under your belt before going into a major event," Bai said.
"Lead-up tournaments are important to see how you're playing and iron out a few things you might not be happy about with your game, things you can work on before a big event. You'd also be pretty nervous if you haven't completed for eight to 12 months as well."